The next in our series of Tutor Tuesdays is Stina Sommerlade, one of our lecturers in dance. Find her at @
Paul Patterson’s Music at the Southbank Centre
The Second in our Tutor Tuesdays series looks at the work of Panos Ghikas, our of our tutors in Music at our Broadstairs campus. Inside are some links to just a few pieces created by him!
Motion Alpha Dance Company, lead by Masters students James Middleton and Aaron Smith are helping to bring dance to a new generation of boys. The pair run all male creative dance classes that use movement to build physical confidence, co-ordination, movement vocabulary and sequences, imagination and creativity. The classes are taught by the two, who are graduates from Canterbury Christ Church University and are experienced in teaching dance with a range of ages and stages.
The Kent and Medway Collaborative Network has spoken about us, and details can be found below:
Yesterday we were treated to a Lunchtime Concert by the amazing Broadway Choir, originated and conducted by Phil Hornsey. We started the performance with a stunning rendition of Circle of Life by Elton John and Tim Rice. The solos by Phillip McParland, Francesca Manklelow, and Bethany Hunt were wonderful and folded straight back into the ensemble.
Next we had two numbers from the hit musical Rent, Seasons of Love and No Day But Today. The numbers were beautifully harmonised with stunning solos from many students throughout.
After this we moved onto a brilliant medley of the best of Rogers and Hammerstein, using numbers such as The Hills are Alive (Introduced to us by Bethany Couch who if you closed your eyes sounded exactly like Julie Andrews!), Oklahoma and South Pacific.
Following this was the hauntingly performed Bring Him Home from Les Misérables by Claude-Michel Schönberg, and Alain Boublil. This version gave us a harmony which does not exist in the original but having heard this should do.
To bring the mood back up after this we heard a song from I Love You, You’re Perfect Now Change called Cantata for First Date, showing us two people getting ready for the first date. This was hilariously performed by all with great timing and facial expressions to boot.
The show was finished up with a lovely duo of Day by Day from Godspell and In the Beginning from Children of Earth. Once again we heard strong solos from members of the group, showcasing the wealth of talent that this company of singers has.
A special mention for Nicola, who was our guide through the musical numbers for the afternoon and gave us brilliant insights to the history of the pieces, as well as the wonderful Phil who not only accompanied the numbers but arranged some of the pieces as well.
Definitely a performance to look out for again, let’s see what they do next time. For videos from the performance, check out our Facebook page here!
Siobhan Mitchell from the University of Bath on Dr Angela Pickard’s book
The first of our Tutor Tuesdays, we will be talking to Dr Lauren Redhead about her work inside and outside of the University. Subscribe to our blog and to hear from more of our tutors in the future!
This lunchtime we were treated to a concert by the University Big Band, lead by the Wonderful Steve Waterman. The concert consisted of five numbers, chosen to show off the brilliant playing and improvisational skills of the performers. Each of the performances were seamless, with Waterman’s careful but precise conducting. He would always stand to the side during a solo so that the audience could appreciate it better, but then bring all of the band’s attention back to the piece with the slightest of gestures. Coupling this with the laid back style of music made the atmosphere much more relaxed and enjoyable.
The pieces were a wonderful contrast to each other. From the bluesy Sandu by Clifford Brown and the wonderfully sweet Little Sunflower by Freddie Hubbard to the upbeat and cheerful Killer Joe by Benny Golson, the beautifully moving A Child is Born by Thad Jones to the New Orleans funeral march Red Vest Man by our very own conductor and composer Steve Waterman that made you want to get up and salute the bygone heroes of the ’40’s and then have a great big swing dance afterwards
(I think you can tell which was my favourite piece).
The solos by the performers were spectacular, made even more so by the fact that they were improvised. A beautiful moment passed during one solo in which Jason (guitar) gave an appreciative smile towards Ben ( piano) during the latter’s solo in one of the numbers. It is such moments as this that make you realised not only are these students incredibly talented, but they respect and build up each other’s talent and strength in doing so. the only thing i could say was that the stunning piano solos by Ben and the guitar solos by Jason whilst reminiscent of the Modern Jazz Quartet were sometimes not loud enough to be fully heard and therefore appreciated more. Thankfully, the brilliant trumpet players Matt, Ayla and Adam, as well as drummer Chris had no such problems.
A special mention must be made to Anne Louise Jones, William Marsh and Evie Lawrence who stepped into the band at the last minute to cover performers who were unfortunately unwell. ( Evie stepped in less than an hour before the concert!) If it had not been mentioned at the start i genuinely believe that you would not have realised that they were there from day 0 given the way that the band worked perfectly through the pieces.
Dancing the Marathon
Dancing in a run of shows is a marathon and not a sprint. Many contemporary dancers rarely get the chance to perform in shows that last longer than two nights in the same venue before packing up and leaving for the next town. So when we are faced with more than a few shows how does our body cope? We all know that over use of particular muscle groups can lead to injury so how do we avoid this when we are expected to repeat the same movements sometimes up to 4 shows a day and also keep the performance as fresh as the first time.
Through my work with Loop Dance Company I have had the opportunity to collaborate in the creation and performance of a critically acclaimed children’s immersive theatre production designed for the Christmas season now in its 7th year. Every year the piece is brand new; the concept brainstormed in the spring, the script written in the summer and the show devised in two weeks of intensive rehearsals in November. This year the ‘run’ was 63 performances, many days with 4 shows a day, every one of them will have the fresh eyes of our target audience aged 3-6 years who are a tough crowd to entertain at the most exciting time of year!
An adequate warm up is crucial of course but also one needs to be careful not to overdo the warm up. The warm up needs to change otherwise we risk muscle imbalance from this repetition on top of the performance repetition. The subsequent shows of the day also need a thorough warm up but one that is different to the last. I find myself moving from traditional dance warm up to yoga, fitness and Pilates style training and always end the day with a good stretch, even when the theatre manager is jangling his keys. My mantra is “my body my job……he’ll get over the wait if I smile!” Fuel and hydration are also essential factors, avoiding sugars and ‘fast energy’ and opting for complex carbohydrates that give a sustained energy release. Finally after care; a hot bath after the 4 show days, some time spent on my foam roller and when a ‘niggle’ appears then the ice and hot water bottle trick before bed is a must! Saying no to the offers of a little Christmas cheer until after the run is also a must. The actors may be able to say yes but for the dancer a night on the booze will mean dehydrated muscles the next day….it’s not worth the chance!
This year was tough for me as I started the rehearsal period with a flare up of an old injury on my Achilles. Any dancer knows that an Achilles Tendon injury is stuff of nightmares! Once it is damaged a long recovery is on the cards and at worst a spell in a cast! Entering the cold studio armed with thermal socks, layers to pop on when I’m not the focus of the directors attention and my trusty tennis balls to roll my feet (many of the ankle and calf attachments are in the sole of the foot!) without a doubt are the reason I made it through without breaking!
I am both choreographer and dancer in this project, working with the director to create the movement material. I have learnt how to stay in character, echoing movements and following the other characters when I’m not dancing, this may sound obvious but for dancers it’s not something we are used to doing. Interacting with the audience is essential in this style of work, they are young and scare easily so being gentle yet fun is a quality I try to emanate. It is vitally important to be honest with yourself as well as the director in the creative period and remember that doing a backflip might be fun once or twice however; you have to make it to the end of the run and then go onto the next job. Finding a balance between challenging your physicality but being realistic about your body’s limitations is a teetering fine line, the finish line is an ever moving idea!
Nina is the Founder and Artistic Director of Loop Dance Company, 0.5 Lecturer at Canterbury Christchurch University leading modules in Limón technique, Dance in Society and Professional Practice and a Visiting Lecturer at University of Roehampton. Nina is an advocate for the development of emerging dance artists and has mentored many fledgling artists. This form of career development formed the theme of her MA dissertation, exploring methods of best practice in an ever-shifting ecology.
Sam Hughes, a graduate of our Ba Commercial Music is one of our music technicians at our campus in Broadstairs. His latest project, a brand new album with a twist ( pun intended) has been recently released.